Top 16 CRM Software for Startups

For startups, the CRM landscape presents a multitude of options, each with unique features and benefits tailored to different business needs. The best CRM for a startup usually balances cost, ease of use, and scalability. With the right CRM, startups can gain deep insights into customer behavior, deliver personalized content, and automate routine tasks, which can be instrumental in nurturing long-term relationships and driving growth.

The selection of a CRM should be a thoughtful process for any startup. It involves considering factors such as the sales process complexity, the size of the customer base, integration with other tools, and future business expansion. The top CRM platforms for startups in 2024 not only offer robust functionality but also provide value for money and the flexibility to adapt as the startup evolves.

What Are the Benefits of Using CRM Software for Startups?

Enhanced Customer Relationships
Utilizing CRM solutions, startups can significantly improve customer relationships. The technology allows for a comprehensive view of customer interactions, enabling personalized communication and fostering strong connections.

Streamlined Sales and Marketing Efforts
CRMs are pivotal in aligning sales and marketing strategies. By managing customer data and leads in one centralized location, teams can efficiently target and engage potential customers, thus enhancing the sales pipeline.

Data-Driven Insights
A CRM empowers startups with robust analytics to make informed decisions. The ability to analyze customer interactions and sales trends helps in strategizing for growth and improving overall efficiency.

Increased Operational Efficiency
Automation is a core benefit of CRM software. Routine tasks are automated, freeing up time for focusing on critical business activities and improving efficiency in managing the sales process and customer service.

Improved Lead Conversion
Startups can utilize CRM tools to effectively track and nurture leads throughout the sales cycle, increasing the likelihood of conversion. By managing the sales pipeline, startups ensure no opportunity is missed.

General Pricing for CRM for Startups

When startups consider CRM solutions, budget constraints often necessitate a focus on affordable and cost-effective options. A startup’s investment in a CRM is pivotal for managing customer data, tracking interactions, and enhancing sales processes, but it must align with the company’s financial resources.

Industry trends indicate a range of pricing models tailored to meet the diverse needs of startups:

  • Free Plans: Many CRM providers offer free plans targeted at startups, which typically include basic features that can suffice in the initial stages of business. Options like HubSpot provide a no-cost CRM core that startups can leverage without financial commitment.
  • Tiered Pricing: As startups scale, they may seek advanced features, leading them to explore tiered pricing structures. Costs can vary significantly, with basic paid tiers often starting around $10 to $15 per user per month and increasing with added functionality.
  • Customization Costs: Some CRMs offer customization tools that are particularly attractive to startups needing tailored solutions. While these can be more cost-effective long-term, there can be an initial higher outlay or subscription increase for these flexible platforms.

Here’s a simplified pricing structure for easy reference:

Pricing ModelDescriptionTypical Starting Cost
Free PlanBasic features, limited customization, suitable for early-stage startups$0
Tiered PricingVaried levels of access to features, scales with startup growth$10-$15/user/month
CustomizationAdvanced personalization options, higher up-front investmentVaries

Features to Look for When Choosing a CRM for a Startup

When startups select a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, several features are paramount to support their growth. Startups require solutions that are streamlined and flexible to evolve with their changing needs.

Contact and Lead Management: This is the foundation of any CRM system. Startups need the capability to organize and track interactions with potential and current customers, ensuring relevant information is accessible. Well-implemented management aids in understanding customer behaviors and preferences, essential for targeted marketing efforts.

Sales and Pipeline Management: Visibility into the sales process is crucial. The CRM should provide clear stages of the sales pipeline, enabling startups to monitor progress and focus efforts where needed. Additionally, features that support sales forecasting help predict future sales and make informed business decisions.

Customizability and Scalability: An adaptable CRM platform can grow with a startup. The ability to tailor the interface and workflows to specific processes without extensive support is significant. Scalability ensures that as the startup grows, the CRM can handle increased demand without performance compromises.

Automation and Workflow Optimization: To increase efficiency, startups should look for CRMs with strong automation capabilities for tasks such as email campaigns and lead scoring. Effective automation saves time and ensures consistency in routine tasks.

Reporting and Data Analysis: Startups need solid reporting tools to understand key performance indicators (KPIs). The CRM should offer customizable reports to track crucial metrics, aiding in strategic decision-making. Collaboration features that allow sharing these insights can foster alignment and teamwork.

Integration: A CRM that integrates seamlessly with existing tools and services used by the startup, such as marketing automation or customer support software, can streamline operations and improve data management.

Top Recommendations is a collaborative operating system that simplifies task management, project tracking, and team communication.

Pipedrive is a sales-focused CRM software designed to help businesses manage and optimize their sales processes efficiently.

Zoho is a cloud-based suite of business software applications offering solutions for CRM tailored to streamline business operations.

Act! is a popular CRM software designed to help small & medium-sized businesses manage contacts and marketing efforts effectively.

Freshsales is a user-friendly CRM software that aids businesses in automating sales processes and fostering customer relationships.

Salesforce is a leading cloud-based CRM platform that empowers businesses to enhance customer relationships and drive growth.

Best CRM for Startups

Choosing the right CRM software is critical for startups looking to improve customer interactions, streamline their sales process, and enhance productivity. It ensures an organized approach to managing relationships and automations, which is essential for business growth.

Best CRM for Startups (At a Glance)

SoftwareFocus AreaKey FeaturesBest For
ClearCompanyTalent ManagementApplicant tracking, performance managementStartups focusing on building a strong team
Zendesk SellCustomer Relationships & Sales ProductivityEmail integration, robust reporting, mobile accessStartups looking for intuitive sales & CRM tools
KeapMarketing Automation & CRMAdvanced marketing, sales automation, email marketingStartups needing advanced marketing & sales CRM
Agile CRMSales, Marketing, Service AutomationContact management, telephony, automation toolsStartups wanting a comprehensive all-in-one CRM
Bitrix24CRM, Project Management, CommunicationFull sales cycle management, telephony, live chatStartups seeking comprehensive tools in one platform
ApptivoCRM, Project Management, InvoicingLead management, contact management, detailed analyticsStartups needing versatile CRM with project management
NimbleSocial Media Integration & CRMAutomatic social profile gathering, sales/marketing automationStartups focusing on social media and personal outreach
Capsule CRMEase of Use & Basic CRM FunctionsContact management, sales pipeline, task managementStartups looking for a straightforward CRM solution
Streak CRM for GmailCRM within GmailLead management, email tracking, deal progress in GmailStartups preferring CRM functions within Gmail
CopperIntegration with Google WorkspaceAutomated data entry, contact sync with GmailStartups already using Google Workspace
InsightlyCRM & Project ManagementContact management, sales tracking, project deliveryStartups needing CRM with project management capabilities
PipedriveSales Pipeline ManagementVisual sales pipeline, activity-based sellingStartups wanting a clear overview of sales processes
FreshsalesAI-based Insights & CRMEmail tracking, lead scoring, built-in phoneStartups looking for AI-driven sales insights
Zoho CRMComprehensive CRM & AutomationSales automation, marketing automation, customer supportStartups wanting a comprehensive set of CRM tools
SalesforceExtensive CRM Features & ScalabilitySales, service, marketing automation, extensive ecosystemStartups planning significant growth & needing scalability
HubSpot CRMFree CRM & ScalabilityMarketing, sales, content management, customer serviceStartups looking for a free, scalable CRM solution

1. ClearCompany

Key features:

  • Talent acquisition and management
  • Goal tracking
  • Performance analytics

Rating: 4.2/5


  • Strong talent management features
  • Comprehensive analytics suite
  • Customizable performance and goal tracking


  • Steeper learning curve for new users
  • Primarily HR focused, less so on traditional CRM features
  • More expensive for smaller startups

Pricing: Custom pricing based on the services selected.

ClearCompany is unique in this list as it’s primarily a talent management platform rather than a traditional CRM. It excels in helping organizations attract, screen, engage, and retain talent. For startups looking to build a strong team as a foundation for growth, ClearCompany provides a comprehensive solution.

It offers tools for every phase of the talent lifecycle, from applicant tracking and onboarding to performance management and employee engagement.

Its user-friendly interface and powerful analytics help startups make data-driven hiring decisions and ensure alignment with company goals.

Verdict: ClearCompany excels in human capital management with CRM elements, making it ideal for startups focusing on aligning talent strategies with business goals.

Check out ClearCompany here!

2. Zendesk Sell

Key features:

  • Sales automation
  • Email integration
  • Mobile access

Rating: 4.1/5


  • User-friendly interface
  • Robust integration with Zendesk support suite
  • Mobile app for on-the-go access


  • Can become expensive with add-ons
  • Limited customization options
  • Some users report occasional glitches

Pricing: Starts at $19/user/month for the basic plan.

Zendesk Sell (formerly Base CRM) focuses on improving customer relationships and enhancing sales productivity. Known for its intuitive interface and straightforward usability, it provides a range of features, including email integration, robust reporting, and mobile access.

Startups benefit from its strong automation capabilities, which streamline sales processes and free up time to focus on strategic tasks. The platform’s analytics and forecasting tools offer valuable insights into sales performance, helping startups make informed decisions.

Verdict: Zendesk Sell is particularly beneficial for startups in need of a reliable CRM that offers strong sales and support integration.

Check out Zendesk Sell here!

3. Keap

Key features:

  • Marketing automation
  • Customer relationship management
  • E-commerce tools

Rating: 4.3/5


  • Powerful marketing automation capabilities
  • Integrated e-commerce functionalities
  • Comprehensive CRM features


  • Can be quite complex for beginners
  • Higher price point
  • May have more features than a startup might need

Pricing: Starts at $79/month for the Lite version.

Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) is ideal for startups that require advanced marketing automation in addition to sales and CRM capabilities. It excels in creating and managing marketing campaigns with a high degree of automation, helping startups nurture leads and convert them into customers.

Its CRM functionalities are intertwined with powerful email marketing tools, customizable templates, and detailed analytics.

Startups can benefit from its comprehensive set of features to streamline their sales process and grow their customer base.

Verdict: Keap is recommended for startups looking for an advanced CRM with strong marketing and sales automation tools wrapped in one platform.

Check out Keap here!

4. Agile CRM

Key features:

  • Contact management
  • Project management
  • Marketing automation

Rating: 4.0/5


  • Comprehensive feature set at competitive pricing
  • Easy integration with third-party apps
  • User-friendly interface


  • Limited customer service options
  • Some users find the reporting feature complex
  • Occasional bugs and system lags

Pricing: Free for up to 10 users, with paid plans starting at $14.99/user/month.

Agile CRM is an all-in-one CRM providing sales, marketing, and service automation on a single platform. Its affordability and user-friendly interface make it suitable for startups.

The platform offers contact management, telephony, appointment scheduling, project management, and a range of other features.

Its marketing automation tools help in efficiently managing campaigns, and its customer support features ensure that startups can maintain high-quality customer service as they grow.

Verdict: Agile CRM is suitable for startups requiring a cost-effective CRM solution with a strong focus on sales, marketing, and service automation.

Check out Agile CRM here!

5. Bitrix24

Key features:

  • Task and project management
  • Social media integration
  • CRM and sales team management

Rating: 4.3/5


  • Extensive project tracking features
  • Social media and messenger tools
  • Available both as a cloud and on-premise solution


  • Interface can be overwhelming
  • Steep learning curve
  • Can be costly as you scale up

Pricing: Free with limits, with premium plans starting at $39/month.

Bitrix24 is a comprehensive suite offering an extensive set of tools including CRM, project management, communication, and collaboration features. Its multifunctionality makes it a one-stop solution for startups looking to manage their operations in a unified platform.

The CRM system offers full sales cycle management, and its advanced features like telephony and live chat support enhance customer interaction.

The project management tools and internal communication features foster collaboration and ensure that all team members are aligned.

Verdict: Bitrix24 suits startups that require an extensive suite of tools for project management in addition to CRM functionalities.

Check out Bitrix24 here!

6. Apptivo

Key features:

  • Lead management
  • Project tracking
  • Invoicing

Rating: 4.2/5


  • Highly customizable
  • Strong app integration
  • Competitive pricing


  • Can be complex due to the number of features
  • Mobile app usability needs improvement
  • Limited third-party integrations

Pricing: Starts at $10/user/month.

Apptivo provides a suite of apps covering not just CRM but also project management, invoicing, and more. It’s a versatile platform that grows with your startup, adapting to various business needs.

The CRM module offers a comprehensive set of features including lead management, contact management, opportunity tracking, and detailed analytics.

Startups benefit from its customizable nature, allowing them to tailor the system according to their specific requirements.

Verdict: Apptivo is a good fit for startups desiring a customizable CRM with strong invoicing and project tracking capabilities.

Check out Apptivo here!

7. Nimble

Key features:

  • Contact management
  • Social media integration
  • Simplified task management

Rating: 4.3/5


  • Seamless integration with social media
  • User-friendly interface
  • Effective contact management system


  • Limited advanced features
  • Email tracking can be improved
  • Reporting is somewhat basic

Pricing: Starts at $25/user/month.

Nimble stands out for its strong social media integration and overall simplicity. It automatically gathers your contacts’ social profiles and interactions in one place, providing insightful context to every conversation. This feature is particularly beneficial for startups focusing on building strong customer relationships and personalizing their outreach.

The platform also offers sales and marketing automation, ensuring that no opportunity is missed.

Verdict: Nimble is recommended for startups looking for a CRM with strong contact management and social media integration that integrates smoothly with existing productivity suites.

Check out Nimble here!

8. Capsule CRM

Key features:

  • Contact management
  • Sales pipeline management
  • Customizable sales process

Rating: 4.3/5


  • Easy to use
  • Customizable sales stages
  • Lightweight CRM solution


  • Limited third-party integrations
  • Basic reporting capabilities
  • Lacks enterprise-level features

Pricing: Free for up to 2 users, with paid plans starting at $18/user/month.

Capsule CRM is known for its simplicity and ease of use, making it an excellent choice for startups that need a straightforward solution. It offers essential CRM features like contact management, sales pipeline tracking, and task management.

Its integration capabilities with popular apps ensure that startups can continue using their preferred tools in conjunction with Capsule CRM.

Verdict: Capsule CRM is beneficial for startups that need an uncomplicated and efficient CRM for sales and relationship management.

Check out Capsule CRM here!

9. Streak CRM for Gmail

Key features:

  • Email integration
  • Pipeline management within Gmail
  • Task tracking

Rating: 4.0/5


  • Deep integration with Gmail
  • User-friendly interface
  • Basic CRM functionalities without leaving the inbox


  • Limited features compared to full CRMs
  • Depends too much on Gmail
  • Not suitable for complex CRM needs

Pricing: Free version available, with Pro plans starting at $49/user/month.

Streak is designed as an extension for Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), integrating directly with Gmail. It’s particularly useful for startups looking for a CRM solution within their email inbox.

Streak allows users to manage leads, track email correspondence, and monitor deal progress directly from Gmail. It’s a great tool for startups that want to minimize switching between applications and keep everything centralized in their email.

Verdict: Streak CRM is ideal for startups seeking straightforward CRM tools within the familiar interface of Gmail.

Check out Streak CRM here!

10. Copper

Key features:

  • Contact management
  • Workflow automation
  • Google Workspace integration

Rating: 4.2/5


  • Deep integration with Google Workspace
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Focus on building and nurturing customer relationships


  • Limited features compared to other full CRMs
  • Customization options could be better
  • Reporting tools need enhancement

Pricing: Starts at $25/user/month.

Copper (formerly ProsperWorks) is recognized for its seamless integration with Google Workspace. It automates data entry and ensures that all your interactions and contacts are synced with your Gmail account.

For startups already using Google Workspace, Copper minimizes the learning curve and enhances productivity by bringing CRM capabilities directly into the familiar interface.

Verdict: Copper is a solid choice for startups embedded in the Google ecosystem, looking for a CRM to enhance their customer relationships without leaving their preferred productivity tools.

Check out Copper here!

11. Insightly

Key features:

  • Lead and contact management
  • Marketing automation
  • Project delivery and tracking

Rating: 4.2/5


  • Integrates CRM with project management
  • User-friendly interface with a modern design
  • Good range of automation tools


  • Limited customization in lower-tier plans
  • Can be costly as you add more users
  • Some users find the mobile app less intuitive

Pricing: Free for 2 users, with paid plans starting at $29/user/month.

Insightly offers a balance between CRM functionalities and project management. It’s a versatile platform that provides tools to manage customer interactions, track sales, and oversee project delivery.

Its integration with popular apps like Google Workspace, Microsoft Office 365, and MailChimp, along with its mobile app, ensures that startups can manage their operations effectively from anywhere.

Verdict: Insightly stands out for startups that value an easy-to-use CRM with strong project management and automation capabilities.

Check out Insightly here!

12. Pipedrive

Key features:

  • Visual sales pipeline management
  • Email integration
  • Sales reporting and forecasting

Rating: 4.5/5


  • Intuitive visual pipeline interface
  • Customizable for different sales processes
  • Strong sales reporting tools


  • Basic project management features
  • Additional cost for advanced features
  • Limited marketing automation tools

Pricing: Starts at $15/user/month.

Pipedrive is built around activity-based selling. It’s known for its visual sales pipeline interface, which allows startups to track deals and stages efficiently.

Its simplicity and focus on sales activities make it a popular choice for startups looking to maintain a clear overview of their sales process and ensure that no deal falls through the cracks.

Verdict: Pipedrive excels for startups that want to optimize their sales process with an easy-to-use, visual CRM solution.

Check out Pipedrive here!

13. Freshsales

Key features:

  • AI-based lead scoring
  • Multichannel customer communication
  • Sales automation

Rating: 4.5/5


  • Advanced AI features for lead scoring and insights
  • Comprehensive sales automation features
  • User-friendly sales-centric CRM


  • Can get expensive as you scale
  • Limited third-party integrations for the lower tiers
  • Some users find the mobile app to have limited functionality

Pricing: Free version available, with paid plans starting at $18/user/month.

Part of the Freshworks product suite, Freshsales is appreciated for its user-friendly interface and AI-based insights. It offers a comprehensive set of features including email tracking, lead scoring, and a built-in phone.

The platform’s AI capabilities provide predictive insights, helping startups make informed decisions and prioritize their efforts effectively.

Verdict: Freshsales is recommended for startups focused on maximizing sales productivity with a feature-rich CRM solution.

Check our Freshsales here!

14. Zoho CRM

Key features:

  • Sales force automation
  • Extensive customization options
  • Advanced analytics and reporting

Rating: 4.5/5


  • Extensive integration with the Zoho ecosystem
  • Highly scalable for growing businesses
  • Deep customization potential


  • Steeper learning curve for customization
  • Advanced features locked behind higher payment tiers
  • Some users report occasional slowdowns during high volume usage

Pricing: Free for up to 3 users, with paid plans starting at $14/user/month.

Zoho CRM is suitable for startups looking for a balance between functionality and affordability. It offers a wide range of tools including sales automation, marketing automation, and customer support features.

Its customization capabilities and integration with the extensive Zoho suite of products make it a flexible option that can adapt to a startup’s evolving needs.

Verdict: Zoho CRM is well-suited for startups looking for a CRM with deep customization that scales alongside their business growth.

Check out Zoho CRM here!

15. Salesforce

Key features:

  • Lead and opportunity management
  • Customizable sales processes
  • Extensive ecosystem of apps and integrations

Rating: 4.7/5


  • In-depth customization
  • A wide range of features across sales, service, and marketing
  • Robust app marketplace with countless integration options


  • Requires time investment to fully utilize
  • Higher cost compared to other CRMs
  • Complex for CRM beginners

Pricing: Starts at $25/user/month for the Essentials plan.

Salesforce is a powerhouse in the CRM industry, known for its extensive features and scalability. It offers everything a startup could need, from sales and customer service to marketing automation.

While it may have a steeper learning curve than some other CRMs, its extensive ecosystem and wide range of integrations make it a robust choice for startups planning for significant growth.

Verdict: Salesforce is ideal for startups that need a comprehensive, all-in-one CRM platform with extensive third-party integrations and app options.

Check out Salesforce here!

16. HubSpot CRM

Key features:

  • Contact management
  • Email scheduling and tracking
  • Pipeline management

Rating: 4.6/5


  • Comprehensive free plan available
  • Easy to use interface
  • Good range of features even in the free version


  • Paid add-ons can be expensive
  • Some advanced features require steep learning
  • Limited custom reporting in free and lower-tier plans

Pricing: Free with premium features starting at $45/month when billed annually.

HubSpot CRM is popular among startups for its free tier and scalability. It offers a full platform of marketing, sales, content management, and customer service, all built on a free CRM.

Its easy-to-use interface and wide range of integrations make it a versatile choice for startups looking to grow and expand their capabilities over time.

Verdict: HubSpot CRM is a top pick for startups seeking a powerful and scalable CRM solution that delivers value without an initial investment.

Check out HubSpot CRM here!


How does CRM integration benefit startup scalability?

Integrating a CRM system allows startups to automate and manage customer interactions seamlessly. As a startup grows, a cloud-based CRM can scale to accommodate an increasing client base, providing essential features such as sales management, customer service, and marketing automation.

Are there any CRM systems particularly well-suited for SaaS startups?

SaaS startups often benefit from CRM systems like HubSpot CRM Suite and Freshsales. These platforms offer robust automation, integration with third-party tools, and analytics capabilities tailored to the unique needs of SaaS businesses, facilitating the tracking and nurturing of leads through the sales funnel.

How can solo entrepreneurs maximize their efficiency with a CRM?

Solo entrepreneurs can leverage CRM tools like Pipedrive or Zoho CRM to streamline their workflow. By using a CRM that offers a comprehensive sales dashboard and marketing automation, they can manage deals, customer interactions, and tasks effectively, freeing up time to focus on core business activities.


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